Docstoc

Flat Bottom Structure For Collapsible Container - Patent 6012629

Document Sample
Flat Bottom Structure For Collapsible Container - Patent 6012629 Powered By Docstoc
					


United States Patent: 6012629


































 
( 1 of 1 )



	United States Patent 
	6,012,629



 Newcomer
 

 
January 11, 2000




 Flat bottom structure for collapsible container



Abstract

A collapsible container movable between a collapsed position and an
     expanded position having a body including a side panel arranged to define
     an interior region and a bottom panel including a floor having a first
     floor section and a second floor section coupled to the first floor
     section at a floor fold line to enable pivoting movement of the second
     floor section relative to the first floor section about the floor fold
     line, a first collapsible floor mount coupled to the first and second
     floor sections and to the side panel, and a second collapsible floor mount
     coupled to the first and second floor sections and to the side panel, the
     first and second collapsible floor mounts cooperating to support the floor
     in one of a flat position wherein the first and second floor sections lie
     in coplanar relation to one another when the collapsible container is
     arranged in an expanded, opened position and a collapsed position wherein
     the second floor section is pivoted about the floor fold line to lie in
     close proximity to the first floor section and the floor fold line is
     positioned to lie outside the interior region defined by the side panel
     when the collapsible container is arranged in a collapsed, flattened
     position.


 
Inventors: 
 Newcomer; Donald (Erie, PA) 
 Assignee:


Inland Paperboard and Packaging, Inc.
 (Indianapolis, 
IN)





Appl. No.:
                    
 09/052,724
  
Filed:
                      
  March 31, 1998





  
Current U.S. Class:
  229/109  ; 229/117; 229/122.27; 229/122.28
  
Current International Class: 
  B65D 5/36&nbsp(20060101); B65D 005/36&nbsp()
  
Field of Search: 
  
  








 229/109,117,117.05,117.06,122.27,122.28,122.29,122.3,122.31
  

References Cited  [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents
 
 
 
756311
April 1904
Adams

1720146
July 1929
Reese

1792370
February 1931
Goodman

2083345
June 1937
Paige

2826350
March 1958
Marx

2858968
November 1958
Pellaton

2934254
April 1960
Ullger

3083889
April 1963
Christensson

3101167
August 1963
Styler

3115291
December 1963
Kotowick

3123276
March 1964
Mairs

3132791
May 1964
Haysler et al.

3251533
May 1966
Cohen

3344971
October 1967
Walker et al.

3373917
March 1968
Cox

3525466
August 1970
Robinson

3561667
February 1971
Saltman

3565235
February 1971
Brown et al.

3642192
February 1972
Wilcox, Jr. et al.

3809310
May 1974
VanderLugt, Jr.

3877631
April 1975
Lai et al.

4109985
August 1978
Lieb, Jr.

4146169
March 1979
Meyers et al.

4166567
September 1979
Beach, Jr. et al.

4185764
January 1980
Cote

4199098
April 1980
Lopez

4243171
January 1981
Prin

4244510
January 1981
Snyder et al.

4260100
April 1981
Hoffman

4289267
September 1981
Mayea

4428499
January 1984
Nauuheimer

4448309
May 1984
Roccaforte et al.

4453665
June 1984
Roccaforte et al.

4470540
September 1984
Koltz

4549690
October 1985
Rosenburg

4607785
August 1986
Croley

4676429
June 1987
Crowe et al.

4742915
May 1988
Ringer

4747485
May 1988
Chaussadas

4760922
August 1988
Northgrave

4834255
May 1989
Boots

4854474
August 1989
Murray et al.

4856705
August 1989
Carr et al.

4871068
October 1989
Dreyfus

4881683
November 1989
Linnemann

4917289
April 1990
Linnemann et al.

5040721
August 1991
Essack

5115965
May 1992
Alepuz

5295623
March 1994
Bacques et al.

5531374
July 1996
Gasper

5613694
March 1997
Gasper

5630543
May 1997
Dugan

5715991
February 1998
Gasper

5816483
October 1998
Gasper



 Foreign Patent Documents
 
 
 
2574755
Jun., 1986
FR

2 243 596
Nov., 1991
GB



   Primary Examiner:  Elkins; Gary E.


  Attorney, Agent or Firm: Barnes & Thornburg



Parent Case Text



This application claims priority under U.S.C .sctn.119 (e) to U.S.
     Provisional Application No. 60/044,737, filed Apr. 18, 1997, which is
     expressly incorporated by reference herein.

Claims  

I claim:

1.  A collapsible container having an expanded open position and a collapsed position, comprising


a body including a side panel arranged to define an interior region and


a bottom panel including a floor having a first floor section and a second floor section coupled to the first floor section at a floor fold line to enable pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section about the
floor fold line, a first collapsible floor mount coupled to the first and second floor sections and to the side panel, and a second collapsible floor mount coupled to the first and second floor sections and to the side panel, the first and second
collapsible floor mounts cooperating to support the floor in one of a flat position wherein the first and second floor sections lie in coplanar relation to one another in the expanded, opened position and a collapsed position wherein the second floor
section is pivoted about the floor fold line to lie in close proximity to the first floor section and the floor fold line is positioned to lie outside the interior region defined by the side panel in the collapsed, flattened position.


2.  The container of claim 1, wherein the first floor section includes an edge arranged to lie in spaced-apart parallel relation to the floor fold line and the edge of the first floor section is positioned to lie adjacent to the side panel and
the edge is arranged to enable relative movement between the first floor section and the side panel during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


3.  The container of claim 2, wherein the second floor section includes an edge arranged to lie in spaced-apart parallel relation to the floor fold line and the edge of the second floor section is positioned to lie adjacent to the side panel and
the edge is arranged to enable relative movement between the second floor section and the side panel during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


4.  The container of claim 2, wherein the first collapsible floor mount includes one link coupled at one end thereof to one end of the first floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel and the second collapsible floor mount
includes another link coupled at one end thereof to an opposite end of the first floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel.


5.  The container of claim 4, wherein each link includes an ear coupled to the side panel, an inner wing section coupled to the first floor section at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing section relative to the first
floor section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and an outer wing section coupled to the ear at an ear fold line and to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line to enable pivoting movement of
the outer wing section relative to the ear and to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


6.  The container of claim 4, wherein the first collapsible floor mount further includes one link coupled at one end thereof to one end of the second floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel and the second collapsible floor
mount further includes another link coupled at one end thereof to an opposite end of the second floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel.


7.  The container of claim 6, wherein each link includes an ear coupled to the side panel, an inner wing section coupled to the floor at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing section relative to the floor during pivoting
movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and an outer wing section coupled to the ear at an ear fold line and to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section
relative to the ear and to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


8.  The container of claim 1, wherein the first collapsible floor mount includes a first link coupled at one end thereof to the first floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel and a second link coupled at one end thereof to the
second floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel.


9.  The container of claim 8, wherein the first link includes a first wing coupled to the first floor section and a first ear coupled to the side panel and coupled to the first wing at an ear fold line to enable pivoting movement of the first
wing relative to the first ear about the ear fold line during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


10.  The container of claim 9, wherein the first wing includes an inner wing section coupled to the first floor section at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing section relative to the first floor section during pivoting
movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section and an outer wing section coupled to the first ear at the ear fold line to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section relative to the first ear during pivoting movement of
the second floor section relative to the first floor section and coupled to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section relative to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second
floor section relative to the first floor section.


11.  The container of claim 10, wherein the inner wing section is triangle-shaped and the outer wing section is quadrilateral-shaped.


12.  The container of claim 9, wherein the second link includes a second wing coupled to the second floor section and a second ear coupled to the side panel and coupled to the second wing at a second ear fold line to enable pivoting movement of
the second ear about the second ear fold line during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


13.  The container of claim 12, wherein the second wing includes an inner wing section coupled to the second floor section at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing section relative to the second floor section during
pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section and an outer wing section coupled to the second ear at the ear fold line to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section relative to the second ear during pivoting
movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section and coupled to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section relative to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of
the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


14.  The container of claim 13, wherein the inner wing section is triangle-shaped and the outer wing section is quadrilateral-shaped.


15.  A collapsible container comprising


a body including a side panel arranged to define an interior region and


a bottom panel including a floor having a first floor section and a second floor section coupled to the first floor section at a floor fold line to enable pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section about the
floor fold line, a first collapsible floor mount coupled to the first and second floor sections and to the side panel, and a second collapsible floor mount coupled to the first and second floor sections and to the side panel, the first and second
collapsible floor mounts cooperating to support the floor in one of a flat position wherein the first and second floor sections lie in coplanar relation to one another when the collapsible container is arranged in an expanded, opened position and a
collapsed position wherein the second floor section is pivoted about the floor fold line to lie in close proximity to the first floor section when the collapsible container is arranged in a collapsed, flattened position, wherein the first floor section
includes an edge arranged to lie in spaced-apart parallel relation to the floor fold line and the edge of the first floor section is positioned to lie adjacent to the side panel without being coupled to the side panel to enable relative movement between
the first floor section and the side panel during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


16.  The container of claim 15, wherein the second floor section includes an edge arranged to lie in spaced-apart parallel relation to the floor fold line and the edge of the second floor section is positioned to lie adjacent to the side panel
without being coupled to the side panel to enable relative movement between the second floor section and the side panel during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


17.  The container of claim 15, wherein the first collapsible floor mount includes one link coupled at one end thereof to one end of the first floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel and the second collapsible floor mount
includes another link coupled at one end thereof to an opposite end of the first floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel.


18.  The container of claim 17, wherein each link includes an ear coupled to the side panel, an inner wing section coupled to the first floor section at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing section relative to the first
floor section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and an outer wing section coupled to the ear at an ear fold line and to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line to enable pivoting movement of
the outer wing section relative to the ear and to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


19.  The container of claim 17, wherein the first collapsible floor mount further includes one link coupled at one end thereof to one end of the second floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel and the second collapsible floor
mount further includes another link coupled at one end thereof to an opposite end of the second floor section and at another end thereof to the side panel.


20.  The container of claim 19, wherein each link includes an ear coupled to the side panel, an inner wing section coupled to the floor at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing section relative to the floor during
pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and an outer wing section coupled to the ear at an ear fold line and to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing
section relative to the ear and to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


21.  A collapsible container comprising


a body including a side panel arranged to define an interior region and


a bottom panel including a floor having a first floor section and a second floor section coupled to the first floor section at a floor fold line to enable pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section about the
floor fold line, a first collapsible floor mount coupled to the first and second floor sections and to the side panel, and a second collapsible floor mount coupled to the first and second floor sections and to the side panel, the first and second
collapsible floor mounts cooperating to support the floor in one of a flat position wherein the first and second floor sections lie in coplanar relation to one another when the collapsible container is arranged in an expanded, opened position and a
collapsed position wherein the second floor section is pivoted about the floor fold line to lie in close proximity to the first floor section when the collapsible container is arranged in a collapsed, flattened position, wherein the side panel includes a
set of eight walls arranged consecutively in a series to provide the body with an octagon shape upon movement of the container to assume the expanded, opened position, the first collapsible floor mount is coupled to a first wall and a third wall in the
series of eight walls, and the second collapsible floor mount is coupled to a fifth wall and a seventh wall in the series of eight walls.


22.  The container of claim 21, wherein the body further includes a first end flap coupled for pivotable movement to a second wall in the series of eight walls and a second end flap coupled for pivotable movement to a sixth wall in the series of
eight walls and each of the first and second end flaps are positioned to lie against the first and second collapsible floor mounts and under the floor of the bottom panel without extending into the interior region when the container is arranged in an
expanded, opened position.


23.  The container of claim 22, wherein the body further includes a first side flap coupled for pivotable movement to a fourth wall in the series of eight walls and a second side flap coupled for pivotable movement to an eighth wall in the series
of eight walls and each of the first and second side flaps are positioned to lie under the floor of the bottom panel and away from the interior region when the container is arranged in an expanded, opened position.


24.  A collapsible container having an expanded position and a collapsed position, comprising


a body including a side panel arranged to define an interior region and


a bottom panel including a floor having a first floor section and second floor section coupled to the first floor section at a floor fold line to enable pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section about the
floor fold line to position the floor fold line outside of the interior region defined by the side panel in the collapsed position and in a flat position with the first and second floor sections generally coplanar in the expanded open position, a first
link coupled for pivotable movement to the first floor section and to the side panel, a second link coupled for pivotable movement to the first floor section and to the side panel and positioned to lie in spaced-apart relation to the first link, a third
link coupled for pivotable movement to the second floor section and to the side panel, and a fourth link coupled for pivotable movement to the second floor section and to the side panel and positioned to lie in spaced-apart relation to the third link.


25.  The container of claim 24, wherein each of the first, second, third, and fourth links includes a wing coupled to one of the first and second floor sections at a wing fold line and an ear coupled to the side panel and to the wing at an ear
fold line to enable pivoting movement of the wing relative to the ear about the ear fold line and to said one of the first and second floor sections during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


26.  The container of claim 24, wherein each of the first and second links includes an ear coupled to the side panel, an inner wing section coupled to the first floor section at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing
section relative to the first floor section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and an outer wing section coupled to the ear at an ear fold line and to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line
to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section relative to the ear and to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


27.  The container of claim 26, wherein each inner wing section is triangle-shaped and each outer wing section is quadrilateral-shaped.


28.  The container of claim 26, wherein each of the third and fourth links includes an ear coupled to the side panel, an inner wing section coupled to the second floor section at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing
section relative to the second floor section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and an outer wing section coupled to the ear at an ear fold line and to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line
to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section relative to the ear and to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section.


29.  The container of claim 28, wherein each inner wing section is triangle-shaped and each outer wing section is quadrilateral-shaped.


30.  A collapsible container comprising


a body including a side panel arranged to define an interior region and


a bottom panel including a floor having a first floor section and second floor section coupled to the first floor section at a floor fold line to enable pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section about the
floor fold line, a first link coupled for pivotable movement to the first floor section and to the side panel, a second link coupled for pivotable movement to the first floor section and to the side panel and positioned to lie in spaced-apart relation to
the first link, a third link coupled for pivotable movement to the second floor section and to the side panel, and a fourth link coupled for pivotable movement to the second floor section and to the side panel and positioned to lie in spaced-apart
relation to the third link, wherein the side panel includes a set of eight walls arranged consecutively in series to provide the body with an octagon shape upon movement of the container to assume the expanded, opened position, the first link is coupled
at one end thereof to a first wall in the series of eight walls and at another end thereof to one end of the first floor section, the second link is coupled at one end thereof to a seventh wall in the series of eight walls and at another end thereof to
an opposite end of the first floor section, the third link is coupled at one end thereof to a fifth wall in the series of eight walls and at another end thereof to one end of the second floor section, and the fourth link is coupled at one end thereof to
a third wall in the series of eight walls and at another end thereof to an opposite end of the second floor section.


31.  The container of claim 30, wherein each of the first and second links includes an ear coupled to the side panel, an inner wing section coupled to the first floor section at a wing fold line to enable pivoting movement of the inner wing
section relative to the first floor section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and an outer wing section coupled to the ear at an ear fold line and to the inner wing section at a diagonal fold line
to enable pivoting movement of the outer wing section relative to the ear and to the inner wing section during pivoting movement of the second floor section relative to the first floor section, and each inner wing section is triangle-shaped and each
outer wing section is quadrilateral-shaped.


32.  The container of claim 30, wherein the body further includes a first end flap coupled for pivotable movement to a second wall in the series of eight walls and a second end flap coupled for pivotable movement to a sixth wall in the series of
eight walls and each of the first and second end flaps are positioned to lie against two of the first, second, third, and fourth links and under the floor of the bottom panel without extending into the interior region when the container is arranged in an
expanded, opened position.


33.  The container of claim 32, wherein the body further includes a first side flap coupled for pivotable movement to a fourth wall in the series of eight walls and a second side flap coupled for pivotable movement to an eighth wall in the series
of eight walls and each of the first and second side flaps are positioned to lie under the floor of the bottom panel and away from the interior region when the container is arranged in an expanded, opened position.


34.  A collapsible container comprising


an eight-sided body formed to include a top opening and a bottom opening and configured to be folded from an expanded, opened position to a collapsed, flattened position, the eight-sided body including a set of eight walls arranged consecutively
in a series to provide the eight-sided body with an octagon shape upon movement of the eight-sided body to assume the expanded, opened position, the walls in each pair of adjacent walls in the set of eight walls being articulated to one another to define
a fold line therebetween to facilitate folding movement of the eight-sided body between the expanded, opened position and the collapsed, flattened position,


bi-fold floor positioned to lie in the bottom opening of the eight-sided body upon movement of the eight-sided body to assume the expanded, opened position,


a plurality of tabs coupled for pivotable movement to certain of the walls in the set of eight walls, each tab being arranged to lie under the bi-fold floor and cooperate with the bi-fold floor to define a bottom structure of the container
closing the bottom opening of the eight-sided body, and


said bi-fold floor facing into an interior region of the body upon movement of the eight-sided body to assume its expanded, opened position without any tabs extending over the bi-fold floor.


35.  The container of claim 34, wherein the tabs are quadrilateral-shaped.


36.  The container of claim 34, wherein the eight-sided body further includes first and second side flaps, the first side flap is coupled for pivotable movement to a fourth wall in the set of eight walls, the second side flap is coupled for
pivotable movement to an eighth wall in the set of eight walls, and each of the first and second side flaps is positioned to lie under the floor of the bottom panel and away from the interior region when the container is arranged in an expanded, opened
position.


37.  A collapsible container comprising


an eight-sided body formed to include a top opening and a bottom opening and configured to be folded from an expanded, opened position to a collapsed, flattened position, the eight-sided body including a set of eight walls arranged consecutively
in a series to provide the eight-sided body with an octagon shape upon movement of the eight-sided body to assume the expanded, opened position, the walls in each pair of adjacent walls in the set of eight walls being articulated to one another to define
a fold line therebetween to facilitate folding movement of the eight-sided body between the expanded, opened position and the collapsed, flattened position,


a bi-fold floor positioned to lie in the bottom opening of the eight-sided body upon movement of the eight-sided body to assume the expanded, opened position, and


a plurality of tabs coupled for pivotable movement to certain of the walls in the set of eight walls and arranged to lie under the bi-fold floor and cooperate with the bi-fold floor to define a bottom structure of the container closing the bottom
opening of the eight-sided body and having a relatively flat interior wall free of any upwardly extending portions lying above the bi-fold floor and facing into an interior region of the body upon movement of the eight-sided body to assume its expanded,
opened position, wherein the eight-sided body further includes first and second end flaps, a first of the tabs is coupled for pivotable movement to a first wall in the set of eight walls, the first end flap is coupled for pivotable movement to a second
wall in the set of eight walls, a second of the tabs is coupled for pivotable movement to a third wall in the set of eight walls, a third of the tabs is coupled for pivotable movement to a fifth wall in the set of eight walls, the second end flap is
coupled for pivotable movement to a sixth wall in the set of eight walls, a fourth of the tabs is coupled for pivotable movement to a seventh wall in the set of eight walls, and each of the first, second, third, and fourth tabs and each of the first and
second end flaps is positioned to lie under the floor and away from the interior region when the container is arranged in an expanded, opened position.


38.  A collapsible container comprising


a body including an endless side panel formed to include a top opening, a bottom opening, and an interior region accessible through the top and bottom openings, the endless side panel including pairs of articulated walls to enable the body to be
folded from an expanded, opened position to a collapsed, flattened position, the body further including first and second end flaps coupled to the endless side panel to lie adjacent to the bottom opening of the body,


a bi-fold floor positioned to lie in the bottom opening of the body upon movement of the body to assume the expanded, opened position, the bi-fold floor cooperating with the endless side panel to define spaced-apart first and second openings
accessible to the interior region therebetween,


a first pair of tabs coupled to the endless side panel and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to one another to position the first end flap therebetween, and


a second pair of tabs coupled to the endless side panel and arranged to lie in spaced-apart relation to one another to position the second end flap therebetween, and wherein the first end flap and first pair of tabs are positioned to lie under
the bi-fold floor and away from the interior region of the body to close the first opening defined by the bi-fold floor and the endless side panel and the second end flap and second pair of tabs are positioned to lie under the bi-fold floor and away from
the interior region of the body to close the second opening defined by the bi-fold floor and the endless side panel to cause the bi-fold floor, first and second end flaps, and first and second pairs of tabs to cooperate to close the bottom opening of the
body when the container is arranged in the expanded, opened position.  Description  

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


The present invention relates to collapsible containers, and particularly to bottom structures for collapsible containers made of paperboard.  More particularly, the present invention relates to a relatively flat bottom structure for a rapid
set-up, octagon-shaped bulk box.


One problem with known rapid set-up, octagon-shaped bulk boxes is that tabs used to form a portion of the bottom structure of such boxes tend to extend upwardly from the box floor into an interior region of such boxes when the boxes are expanded
to assume upright, erected configurations.  Many box users prefer a box that, once erected, has an open interior region free of any upwardly extending tabs and a relatively flat interior bottom wall or floor.


According to the present invention, a collapsible container includes a multi-sided body formed to include a top opening and a bottom opening, a bi-fold floor, and a plurality of tabs coupled for pivotable movement to the body.  The body is
configured to be folded from an expanded, opened position to a collapsed, flattened position and the bi-fold floor is positioned to lie in the bottom opening of the multi-sided body upon movement of the body to assume the expanded, opened position.  The
pivotable tabs are arranged to lie under the bi-fold floor and cooperate with the bi-fold floor to define a bottom structure closing the bottom opening of the body and having a relatively flat interior wall free of any tab portions lying atop of the
bi-fold floor in the midsections thereof and facing into the interior region of the body upon movement of the multi-sided body to assume its expanded, opened position.


In preferred embodiments, the collapsible container is a somewhat octagon-shaped bulk box and the body is eight-sided and includes a set of eight walls arranged consecutively in series to provide the eight-sided body with an "octagon" shape upon
movement of the eight-sided body to assume the expanded, opened position.  Although two of the eight walls, which two walls are formed to include hand-grip slots, are folded to give the impression that the bulk box has ten walls, the bulk box really has
eight walls, six of which are flat and two of which are folded slightly.


A bottom panel including the bi-fold floor and some of the tabs (e.g., links) is coupled to the eight-sided body and configured to fold during expansion and collapse of the collapsible container.  Others of the tabs (e.g., end flaps) are coupled
to the eight-sided body and configured to be folded during expansion and collapse of the collapsible container.


When the body is moved to assume its expanded, opened (i.e., erect) position, the bi-fold floor is positioned to close "most" of the bottom opening in the body.  The tabs (e.g., links and end flaps) are moved to lie under the floor and close any
openings formed between the body and the bi-fold floor so as to close the "rest" of the bottom opening in the body.  None of the tabs extend into the interior region of the erect container.  As a result, the bottom structure of the collapsible container
defined by the bottom panel and the end flaps provides a relatively flat interior bottom wall in the erect container.


Additional features and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of preferred embodiments exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the invention as
presently perceived. 

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


The detailed description particularly refers to the following figures in which:


FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an erected container in accordance with the present invention setting on a flat surface and showing vertical side walls included in the container and a somewhat octagon-shaped top opening defined by upper edges of
the container side walls;


FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the container of FIG. 1 (after the container has been inverted) showing exterior portions of the bottom structure of the container and four bottom flaps that are appended to the container side walls and configured
to fold inwardly and form additional portions of the bottom structure when the container is returned to the normal upright position shown in FIG. 1;


FIG. 3 is a transverse sectional view of the container taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 1 showing a cross section of a relatively flat interior bottom wall defined by the bottom structure along the "length" of the container;


FIG. 4 is a transverse sectional view of the container taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 1 showing a cross section of a relatively flat interior bottom wall defined by the bottom structure along the "width" of the container;


FIG. 5 is a plan view of the container of FIG. 1 showing portions of the bottom flaps and portions of a bottom panel that cooperate to define the bottom structure of the container and provide a relatively flat interior bottom wall inside the
container;


FIG. 6 is a front elevation view of the container of FIGS. 1 and 5;


FIG. 7 is a right-side elevation view of the container of FIGS. 1, 5, and 6;


FIG. 8 is a left-side elevation view of the container of FIGS. 1, 5, and 6;


FIG. 9 is a bottom view of the container taken along line 9--9 of FIG. 1 showing the bottom panel in a spread position forming a portion of the bottom structure of the container and showing the four bottom flaps of FIG. 2 in their inwardly folded
positions adjacent to the bottom panel to form additional portions of the bottom structure of the container (when the container is setting in an upright position on a flat surface as shown in FIG. 1);


FIG. 10 is a longitudinal section taken along line 10--10 of FIG. 7 showing only the side walls of the container and showing the use of an outer panel and an inner panel to cause each side wall to have a double-walled construction;


FIG. 11 is a plan view of a blank used to define the outer panel of the container;


FIG. 12 is a plan view of a blank used to define the inner panel of the container;


FIG. 13 is a plan view of a blank used to define the bottom panel and coupled to the inner panel to define a portion of the bottom structure of the container;


FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the folded bottom panel before it is coupled to a folded body defined by the inner and outer panels at four locations on the inner panel of the folded body;


FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the folded bottom panel after it has been coupled to the folded body defined by the inner and outer panels to create an expandable and collapsible container and showing the container in a collapsed, flattened
position;


FIGS. 16-18 show a sequence wherein various external forces are applied to the container shown in FIG. 15 to expand the container from a collapsed, flattened position to an upright, opened position;


FIG. 16 is a perspective view showing application of a force to one end of the container while another end of the container contacts a flat surface during a first stage of container expansion;


FIG. 17 is a perspective view showing application of another force to an exterior surface of the bottom panel during a second stage of container expansion; and


FIG. 18 is a perspective view showing turning of the container from the position shown in FIG. 17 toward the position shown in FIG. 1 to fold various bottom flaps appended to the outer panel under the bottom panel during a third stage of
container expansion. 

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


A collapsible container 10 having effectively eight side walls and a foldable bottom structure is shown setting on a flat surface 11 in FIGS. 1 and 2.  Collapsible container 10 is a rapid set-up, multi-sided, bulk box that, once erected, has an
open interior region free of any upwardly extending tabs and a relatively flat bottom structure.  The foldable bottom structure of container 10 includes a bi-fold floor and a plurality of tabs coupled for pivotable movement to certain side walls of
container 10 and arranged to lie outside of the interior region of container 10 and underlie and support exterior surfaces of the bi-fold floor so that container 10, once erected, is provided with a bottom structure having a relatively flat interior wall
facing into the interior region of container 10.


Three separate die-cut blanks used to make a presently preferred embodiment of collapsible container 10 are shown in FIGS. 11-13 and some container assembly steps are shown in FIGS. 14 and 15.  A sequence is shown in FIGS. 16-18 wherein various
external forces are applied to the container shown in FIG. 15 to expand the container from a collapsed, flattened position to an upright, opened position.


Container 10 comprises an outer panel 12, an inner panel 14, and a bottom panel 16.  The outer and inner panels 12, 14 are coupled (e.g., glued) together to form a body 15 and folded to define the side walls.  The bottom panel 16 is coupled
(e.g., glued) to the body 15 and positioned to cooperate with bottom flaps 18, 20, 22, 24 to form a foldable bottom structure 26 that is coupled to the side walls and collapsible therewith.


It is within the scope of the present invention to construct a container using only outer panel 12 and bottom panel 16.


As shown best in FIGS. 3-5, container 10 includes an interior bottom wall or floor 28 that is relatively flat and free of any upwardly extending tabs so as to provide an open interior region 30 within container 10.  Foldable bottom structure 26
is configured so that its bottom panel 16 does not include any tabs that extend into interior region 30 of container 10 as seen best in FIGS. 3 and 4 and that the four bottom flaps 18, 20, 22, 24 lie wholly outside interior region 30 of container 10 as
seen best in FIGS. 2, 9, 16, and 17.  Bottom panel 16 includes four ears 31, 32, 33, 34 that are coupled to body 15 to support bottom panel 16 along a bottom edge of body 15 for movement between a relatively flat configuration when container 10 is in its
expanded, upright, use position as shown, for example, in FIGS. 1 and 3-5 and a folded configuration when container 10 is in its collapsed, flattened, storage position as shown, for example, in FIG. 15.


Outer panel 12 is a die-cut blank made of a paperboard such as a corrugated material.  As shown in FIG. 11, outer panel 12 includes, in series, a connection flange 40, first wall 41, second wall 42, third wall 43, fourth wall 44, fifth wall 45,
sixth wall 46, seventh wall 47, and eighth wall 48.  Scored fold lines between adjacent walls are represented by dotted lines.  First end bottom flap 18 is appended to one end of second wall 42 and second wall 42 and first end bottom flap 18 are scored
along perpendicular folding score lines 35, 36.  First side bottom flap 20 is appended to one end of fourth wall 44 along folding score line 37.  Second end bottom flap 22 is appended to one end of sixth wall 46 and sixth wall 46 and second end bottom
flap 22 are scored along perpendicular folding score lines 38, 39.  Second side bottom flap 24 is appended to one end of eighth wall 48 along folding score line 49.  Each of bottom flaps 18, 20, 22, 24 is arranged to lie along one perimeter edge of the
walls 41-48 as shown in FIG. 11.


Inner panel 14 is made of a paperboard such as a corrugated material.  As shown in FIG. 12, inner panel 14 includes, in series, a connection flange 50, first wall 51, second wall 52, third wall 53, fourth wall 54, fifth wall 55, sixth wall 56,
seventh wall 57, and eighth wall 58.  Scored fold lines between adjacent walls are represented by dotted lines.  The walls in each pair of adjacent walls in the set of eight walls 51 to 58 are articulated to one another to define a fold line
therebetween.  Once assembled, there will be a fold line between first wall 51 and eighth wall 58 as shown, for example, in FIG. 10.


During a first stage of container construction, inner panel 14 is coupled (e.g., glued) to outer panel 12 so that the following pairs of flanges and walls are aligned and coupled as shown, for example, in FIG. 10: (40, 50), (41, 51), (42, 52),
(43, 53), (44, 54), (45, 55), (46, 56), (47, 57), and (48, 58).  The flanges and walls are aligned so that the folding score lines (represented by dotted lines in FIG. 12) in inner panel 14 align with the folding score lines (represented by dotted lines
in FIG. 11) in outer panel 12.  In a next stage, body 15 is formed by coupling (e.g., gluing) connection flange 40 to eighth wall 48 in outer panel 12 at a location adjacent to eighth wall 58 in inner panel 14 and coupling (e.g., gluing) connection
flange 50 in inner panel 14 to connection flange 40 in outer panel 12 and to eighth wall 58 in inner panel 14 as shown, for example, in FIG. 10 so that connection flange 40 is trapped between eighth wall 48 in outer panel 12 and connection flange 50 in
inner panel 14.  Body 15 can now be collapsed and expanded along its folding score lines to move between a somewhat octagon-shaped expanded position shown in FIG. 10 and a flattened collapsed position shown in FIG. 15.


Construction of container 10 is continued by coupling (e.g., gluing) bottom panel 16 to body 15 as shown, for example, in FIGS. 14 and 15.  Folded bottom panel 16 is moved in direction 92 as shown in FIG. 14 to cause ears 31, 32, 33, 34 to move
into interior region 30 of body 15.  Using glue or some suitable connector, ear 31 is coupled to region 93 on wall 51 of inner panel 14, ear 32 is coupled to region 94 on wall 53 of inner panel 14, ear 33 is coupled to region 95 on wall 54 of inner panel
14, and ear 34 is coupled to region 96 on wall 57 of inner panel 14.  In an alternative embodiment (not shown), one or more of ears 31, 32, 33, 34 could be coupled to outer panel 12 instead of inner panel 14.  As noted previously, a container within the
scope of the present invention could be formed by coupling bottom panel 16 directly to outer panel 12.  Ears 31, 32, 33, 34 could be coupled to either an interior surface or an exterior surface of outer panel 12.


Bottom panel 16 is also a die-cut blank made of a paperboard such as corrugated material.  As shown in FIG. 13, bottom panel 16 includes a bi-fold floor having a floor section 60 and a floor section 62 appended to floor section 60 along floor
fold line 61 to enable pivoting movement of floor section 62 relative to floor section 60 about floor fold line 61 during expansion and collapse of container 10 as shown, for example, in FIGS. 15-17.


As shown, for example, in FIGS. 2, 5, and 9, a plurality of tabs 74, 79, 84, 89 coupled for pivotable movement to body 15 of container 10 cooperate to underlie and support exterior surfaces of floor sections 60, 62 when container 10 is in an
upright position shown, for example, in FIG. 1 without extending upwardly into interior region 30 of container 10 as shown, for example, in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5.  These tabs are arranged to pivot relative to the side panel of container 10 during expansion
and collapse of container 10 to enable external forces to be applied to container 10 as shown, for example, in FIG. 15 to expand container 10 from a collapsed, flattened position to an upright, opened position.  Container 10 is a box that, once erected,
has an open interior region free of any upwardly extending tabs that overlie the middle portions of the relatively flat interior bottom wall or floor as shown, for example, in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5.


Two collapsible floor mounts are configured to support floor 60, 62 of bottom panel 16 in a "flattened" position as shown, for example, in FIGS. 3-5 wherein floor sections 60, 62 lie in substantially coplanar relation to one another when
container 10 is moved to assume an expanded, opened position.  Two collapsible floor mounts are also configured to support floor 60, 62 of bottom panel 16 in a "folded" position as shown, for example, in FIG. 15 wherein floor section 62 is pivoted about
floor fold line 61 to lie in close proximity to floor section 60 (i.e., either contacting floor section 60 or defining a small acute dihedral angle between floor sections 60, 62) when container 10 is moved to assume a collapsed, flattened position.


As shown in FIG. 13, bottom panel 16 further includes a first collapsible floor mount coupled for pivotable movement to ends 65, 71 of floor sections 60, 62 and to either inner panel 14 as shown in the drawings or to outer panel 12 and a second
collapsible floor mount coupled for pivotable movement to ends 67, 69 of floor sections 60, 62 and to either inner panel 14 as shown in the drawings or to outer panel 12.  The first collapsible floor mount includes a foldable first link defined by ear 31
and wing 64 and a foldable second link defined by ear 32 and wing 70 as shown, for example, in FIG. 13.  The second collapsible floor mount includes a foldable first link defined by ear 33 and wing 68 and a foldable second link defined by ear 34 and wing
66 as shown, for example, also in FIG. 13.  A first wing 64 is appended to ear 31 and to one end 65 of floor section 60, a second wing 66 is appended to ear 34 and another end 67 of floor section 60, a third wing 68 is appended to ear 33 and to one end
69 of floor section 62, and a fourth wing 70 is appended to ear 34 and to another end 71 of floor section 62.


First wing 64 includes a triangle-shaped inner wing section 72 appended to floor section 60 along wing fold line 73 and a quadrilateral-shaped outer wing section 74 appended to first section 72 along diagonal fold line 75 and to ear 31 along ear
fold line 76.  Second wing 66 includes a triangle-shaped inner wing section 77 appended to floor section 60 along wing fold line 78 and a quadrilateral-shaped outer wing section 79 appended to inner wing section 77 along diagonal fold line 80 and to ear
34 along ear fold line 81.  Third wing 68 includes a triangle-shaped inner wing section 82 appended to floor section 62 along wing fold line 83 and a quadrilateral-shaped outer wing section appended to inner wing section 82 along diagonal fold line 84
and to ear 33 along ear fold line 85.  Fourth wing 70 includes a triangle-shaped inner wing section 87 appended to floor section 62 along wing fold line 88 and a quadrilateral-shaped outer wing section 89 appended to inner wing section 87 along diagonal
fold line 90 and to ear 32 along ear fold line 91.


Container 10 can be moved easily from its collapsed, flattened position to its expanded, opened position in the manner shown in FIGS. 15-18.  External forces 97, 98 are applied, for example, to edges 35, 38 of second and sixth walls 42, 46 of
outer panel 12 to cause body 15 to expand as fourth wall 44 (along with wall 54) moves in first direction 99 and eighth wall 48 (along with wall 58) moves in an opposite second direction 100 as shown in FIG. 15.  External forces 97 and 98 can be applied
as shown in FIG. 16 by resting edge 38 of sixth wall 46 on hard surface 11 and applying force 97 to edge 35 of second wall 42.  Then, an external force 101 is applied, for example, to edge 61 between floor sections 60, 62 as shown in FIG. 17 to move
bottom panel 16 to assume a spread configuration.  Finally, container 10 is turned relative to surface 11 in direction 102 to fold bottom flaps 18, 20, 22, 24 in directions 103, 104, 105, 106 as shown, for example, in FIGS. 18 and 2 to place the carton
in its upright position shown in FIG. 1.


Although the invention has been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the scope and spirit of the invention as described and defined in the following claims.


* * * * *























				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: The present invention relates to collapsible containers, and particularly to bottom structures for collapsible containers made of paperboard. More particularly, the present invention relates to a relatively flat bottom structure for a rapidset-up, octagon-shaped bulk box.One problem with known rapid set-up, octagon-shaped bulk boxes is that tabs used to form a portion of the bottom structure of such boxes tend to extend upwardly from the box floor into an interior region of such boxes when the boxes are expandedto assume upright, erected configurations. Many box users prefer a box that, once erected, has an open interior region free of any upwardly extending tabs and a relatively flat interior bottom wall or floor.According to the present invention, a collapsible container includes a multi-sided body formed to include a top opening and a bottom opening, a bi-fold floor, and a plurality of tabs coupled for pivotable movement to the body. The body isconfigured to be folded from an expanded, opened position to a collapsed, flattened position and the bi-fold floor is positioned to lie in the bottom opening of the multi-sided body upon movement of the body to assume the expanded, opened position. Thepivotable tabs are arranged to lie under the bi-fold floor and cooperate with the bi-fold floor to define a bottom structure closing the bottom opening of the body and having a relatively flat interior wall free of any tab portions lying atop of thebi-fold floor in the midsections thereof and facing into the interior region of the body upon movement of the multi-sided body to assume its expanded, opened position.In preferred embodiments, the collapsible container is a somewhat octagon-shaped bulk box and the body is eight-sided and includes a set of eight walls arranged consecutively in series to provide the eight-sided body with an "octagon" shape uponmovement of the eight-sided body to assume the expanded, opened position. Although two of the eight walls, which two wal